The Truth About Acupuncture
With swimsuit season right around the corner, many people in the Lehigh Valley are committing to a healthy lifestyle and getting back in to shape. With the number of gym memberships skyrocketing and weekly Zumba classes heating up, the Lehigh Valley is looking a little fit these days. But, what about taking care of one’s internal health and trying to change the things that the outside world can’t see? Ridding oneself of physical pain and anxiety, and participating in disease prevention methods are just as important to improve one’s quality of life. Acupuncture is a treatment that is over 2,000 years old, originating in Ancient China, which uses pressure points in the body to create a balance of homeostasis and address patients’ health concerns. While there are many people that are hesitant to participate in the ancient practice, the number of Americans trying acupuncture has dramatically increased in the last 30 years. According to the National Health Interview Survey results, between 2002 and 2007 acupuncture increased among adults by approximately 1 million people.
This may have to do with consumers looking not just for physical healing but a healing of their mental and emotional state as well. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body has specific intricate patterns to maintain serenity. This is referred to as qi, pronounced as chee. Anxiety and illness occur in the body when one’s qi is disrupted or blocked. Acupuncture works by striving to restore a patient’s qi to its original state through treatment. A patient’s quality of life can be improved through achieving this.
David Molony, an acupuncturist and owner of the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center, has seen firsthand the benefits of the practice of this alternative medicine. It is most famously known for treating chronic pain, but also can aid in the in-vitro fertilization process and treat ailments such as anxiety, depression, and even weight loss. Molony lists the top three greatest benefits of acupuncture for patients as eliminating pain, feeling more self-aware of their well-being and a greater feeling of being rested and “centered.” By treating the main concern of the patient, it can take care of the greater underlying problems, such as stress.
“I look at a lot of what I do as not healing somebody, but removing the breaks in the body and the body healing itself,” Molony explains. He continues by adding, “The body learns how to do bad things just as well as it learns to do good things. A lot of our imbalances are our body learning to do the wrong way of doing things.” Acupuncture works with the central communication system in the body to determine what is the correct course of action in order to be healthy. Acupuncture helps the body learn the “good” way of doing things and helps the body heal itself. But, like with all health-related hot topics, there are restrictions and facts to consider before making that first appointment.
Most people who are looking to improve their overall well-being, meaning physical, mental, and emotional health, are great candidates for acupuncture. This accounts for over 90 percent of the population. However, there are always exceptions. For example, a patient that is also a hemophiliac would not be a good candidate for the treatment because he would be at a higher risk for bleeding during the session. Also, patients who have a physical inability to be still for periods of time may have difficulty during sessions. This type of treatment affects every candidate differently, given the situation and level of severity.
Most patients considering acupuncture are looking for alternatives to surgery or strong medications. Given the circumstances of each patient, the results may vary. While one patient may feel better after only one session, another patient may need a full 12 sessions in order for their body to completely restore its qi. An average patient, though, should begin to feel a drastic difference in her health after around five treatments of acupuncture. Strong medications, however, may have a tendency to mask the progress that the patient is making each session. When the body is cleansed of strong pain medications, a patient can begin to truly appreciate the rate at which the body is healing.
While many, if not the majority, of acupuncture’s clients can be skeptical before going in to their first session, it is a great alternative used to avoid surgery in many cases. Candidates for acupuncture usually have tried conventional medication and treatments with little to no success. Molony explains that both Western and Chinese medicine are simply two different approaches to trying to arrive at the same goal. “Conventional medicine tries to find a small [suffering] particle and kill it, hoping the body will bounce back. Chinese medicine doesn’t have that concept. It works to make the body stronger and the body kills it. The truth is there are times when conventional medicine is really useful. There are also times when Chinese medicine is really effective.”
The way the world looks at medicine is consistently changing and clients are looking for a new way to heal. While Western medicine has been successful in managing people’s symptoms and restoring people’s health on a basic level, there are some situations that run deeper than any medication can remedy. This is why acupuncture has become so successful. The practice is reaching its patients on a level deeper than just their physical health. This can mean the difference between a patient waking up for the first time in years without pain or waking up with milder pain. While the concept of trying something that is unknown to a patient may be unsettling, the results many patients receive are undeniable.
Mr. David Molony
Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center
101 Bridge Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine